summertime picnics, backyard barbeques, camping and days at the pool with
family and friends means we’re outside more and exposed to nature’s tiniest
creatures – bugs. Dr. Matt Cline, an Emergency Medicine physician at Wake
Forest Baptist Health – Davie Medical Center, shared simple tips we can use to
help prevent common insect bites and avoid the unwanted stings of summer.
Dr. Cline said that the best way to prevent bites is by using a high-quality
bug spray. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered DEET insect repellents that
are proven safe and effective. There are also several natural, chemical-free
varieties available. Other ways to ward off bites and stings from bees,
hornets, wasps, mosquitoes and ticks are to:
light-colored clothing. This makes it easier to spot ticks, and bugs are
less attracted to muted colors.
a fan outdoors. It’s difficult for mosquitoes and other bugs to fly
against the breeze.
and remove bee, wasp and hornet nests carefully. Treat with a long
distance spray at night when the insects are asleep.
food and beverages covered. Sweet foods and sugary drinks (like soda and
juice) can especially attract insects.
lids secured on trashcans.
calm and still if an insect is flying around, as swatting may cause it to
Benadryl handy in case you have an allergic reaction.
Cline explained that most bug bites do not require a trip to the emergency
department and can be cared for at home. A local reaction is common and usually
is identified by a small area of redness that can be accompanied by itching. He
recommends taking an antihistamine or Benadryl as the first line of defense but
points out that simply giving this type of reaction time to heal on its’ own is
just as important.
Cline also notes that severe allergic reactions are less common, but it is
crucial to know the symptoms. These can include difficulty breathing, light-headedness,
vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of consciousness. Dr. Cline clarifies that a severe
allergic reaction’s symptoms will continue to progress over time.
“If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, you
need to seek emergency medical treatment immediately,” he said.
Individuals who know they have a severe insect-allergy should always carry an
auto-injectable epinephrine and make sure friends and family know how to use it
For pesky tick bites, Dr. Cline said that early identification is key. If
you are in the woods or a field, be sure to check yourself immediately
afterward because it takes ticks about 24 to 48 hours to attach to the body. If
you spot a tick, use tweezers to grab the tick as close as possible at its
head. Never use gasoline, bleach or a flame. After removal, clean the area with
soap and water. If you get a red rash around the bite or experience fever,
chills or joint aches, this may signal infection and you need to seek immediate
Please keep Dr. Cline’s tips in mind when you’re outdoors this
summer. While we can’t always avoid bug bites and stings, taking these small
steps can help reduce your chance of unwelcome insect encounters.
Medical Center provides Emergency Department services 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week in Bermuda Run, NC. You can
expect to receive convenient, high-quality care for adults and children with
injuries and sudden illnesses, as well as minimal wait times.